Discharge Instructions for Minimally Invasive Coronary Bypass Surgery

Your doctor performed minimally invasive coronary bypass surgery. This surgery created a new pathway around a blocked part of your heart’s blood vessels, allowing blood to reach your heart muscle. An alternative to traditional open-heart surgery, this procedure allowed your doctor to operate through a few small incisions, instead of cutting through your breastbone. Here’s what you need to know about home care.


  • Don’t drive after your surgery until your doctor gives you permission. Generally, you should wait at least 3 weeks until you drive.  Ask someone to take you to your appointments or wherever else you need to go.

  • Don’t lift anything heavier than 5 pounds until approved by your doctor.

  • Ask your doctor when you can expect to return to work.The length of time you will be out of workwill depend on the type of job you have.

  • Ask your doctor when you can start a walking program:

    • If you haven’t already started a walking program in the hospital, begin with short walks (about 5 minutes) at home. Go a little longer each day.

    • Choose a safe place with a level surface, such as a local park or mall.

    • Wear supportive shoes to prevent injury to the knees and ankles.

    • Walk with someone. It’s more fun and helps you keep up with your walking program.

Other Home Care

  • When you shower, avoid using very hot water, which could make you dizzy.

  • Clean your incisions every day with soap and water. Gently pat dry the area of the incisions. Don’t use any powders, lotions, or oils on your incisions until they are healed. If there are any steri-strips still attached to your incision, you can remove them if they don't fall off after 7 days.

  • Weigh yourself every day. Do this at the same time of day and in the same kind of clothes.

  • Take your medications exactly as directed. Don’t skip doses.

Lifestyle Changes

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Get help to lose any extra pounds.

  • Cut back on salt.

    • Limit canned, dried, packaged, and fast foods.

    • Don’t add salt to your food at the table.

    • Season foods with herbs instead of salt when you cook.

  • Break the smoking habit. Enroll in a stop-smoking program to improve your chances of success.


When to Call Your Doctor

Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:

  • Chest pain or a return of the symptoms you had before your surgery

  • Fever above 100°F (37.8°C)

  • Signs of infection (redness, swelling, drainage, or warmth) at or near your incision sites

  • Shortness of breath

  • Fainting

  • Weight gain of more than 3 pounds in 24 hours or more than 5 pounds in 1 week 

  • Swelling in your hands, feet, or ankles

  • Pain at the incision site that is not relieved with medication

  • Changes in the location, type, or severity of pain

  • Fast or irregular pulse

  • Tingling, twitching, numbness, or coldness in your arms or legs